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Research Paper

By checking the slapshot speed, we can determine whether a wood stick

or a graphite hockey stick shoots faster. Also, we will also be observing

the differences in brand and if they matter. The puck will also be

researched, in order to calculate the physics of the shot.

Ice hockey originated in Canada in the 1800s, and the first modern

indoor hockey game was played in Montreal in 1875. By the 1890s it had

become extremely popular and had spread to the United States. Since 1917

the National Hockey League (NHL), with teams in both countries, has been

the primary professional association. The rival World Hockey Association

(WHA), launched in 1972, ceased operation in 1979; several of its 12 teams

gained entry to the NHL. The NHL’s current 30 teams play in two

conferences, the Eastern and Western, each with three divisions. Though

most NHL players have always been Canadian, an increasing number of players

from the United States and Europe have appeared since the 1980s. Teams vie

for the Stanley Cup-originally donated to the Canadian Amateur Hockey

Association (1893) by Sir Frederick Arthur Stanley-the NHL’s championship

trophy and the symbol of world professional supremacy.

A wood hockey stick has many ties to hockey’s very creation. The

early Ice Hockey sticks were carved from Hornbeam trees (Ostrya

Virginiana), which are native to Nova Scotia and provide a very durable

hardwood. One of the tools used in the carving of Hockey sticks was known

as a “Crooked Knife”. Hornbeam is also known as ‘Ironwood’ because of its

durability, and ‘Stinkwood’ because of its unpleasant odor when cut.

Because of the huge numbers of ice hockey sticks made using these methods

by many makers, local supplies of Hornbeam were largely depleted and the

companies then turned to the yellow birch, another hard wood which

possesses the same characteristics. Wood sticks are traditional sticks and

are usually less expensive than modern composite sticks. Also, with wood

sticks, one is able to fine tune his/her stick by cutting or sanding it to

make it more comfortable. Wood sticks break easier, are heavier, and tend

to be stiffer than other materials. There is an upside; however, the wood

stick’s stiffness can really help out in leverage. This helps propel the

stick harder and cause a greater force in the slapshot.

Composites like graphite are what many of the new sticks are made of

today. The most common out is graphite. This is because of its

combination of strength and durability, while retaining a relatively light

weight and providing maximum and most efficient output force. Graphite can

be used many ways in stick construction. It can be used to coat or

reinforce a wooden core; it is sometimes mixed with kevlar to form the

shaft; and it can also be used entirely on its own. Graphite is more

expensive than fiberglass and aluminum, but less expensive than kevlar and

titanium. Graphite sticks are considered strong and lightweight .They use

replaceable blades, so when the head breaks, the whole stick doesn’t go to

waste. The blades are usually made of wood and attached to the composite

stick with glue. Some blades have Kevlar wraps on them, for added

endurance. The cheaper varieties result in plastic blades. A curved blade

allows you to lift the puck and put spin on it but makes it more difficult

to shoot or pass backhand. A blade with a smaller curve gives you lower

shots and better control.

Shooting power is equal to the energy transfer and whip of a hockey

stick. The shooters weight, height and strength determines how much they

can physically flex the shaft of a hockey stick. Therefore, the stronger

the player the stiffer the shaft ; the lighter the player, the need for

more flex increases. I think it is impossible for a 90 lbs. player to have

the same shooting power using the same shaft as a 170 lbs. player, because

a 170 lbs. guy has more weight shifted into his shot. The stiffness, or

flex, of a stick’s shaft is important in determining control and

performance. The lower the flex number the more flex it has, and the higher

the flex number the stiffer the stick is. Every stick is designed based on

a player’s height, weight, strength, and hand size. Every hockey stick has

a different shaft construction and individual flex pattern. There are so

many flex patterns for each company. For example Easton’s flex ranges from

junior which goes to 50 flex and 65 flex. Intermediate flex is 75 flex and

senior flex is 100 and 110 flex. All stick brands use this same flex

pattern. Defensemen should choose a stiffer, heavier stick, while forwards

should choose a lighter, more flexible shaft.

The puck is made of various materials. Depending on puck type, size,

and weight, the puck will react differently with the stick. The most

commonly used pucks are made of a hard rubber. These are always a uniform

size, so the weight of the puck will always depend on material and density.

Rubber pucks create friction, but upon an ice surface, they move quite

well. It is because of the oppositely charged ions in each of the products

that make it move. The rubber has a slight charge similar to that of the

electronegative ice. This causes a repelling effect, causing the puck to

move quite easily. Rubber pucks are light and easy to slap around. Their

downside comes in their lightness. Because of that, it is sometimes hard

to control where it goes, because sometimes it will just fly around in the

air from a whack of an inexperienced player. Some other pucks are

composites, made of graphite, silicone, and kevlar. These are much heavier

and cause the puck to receive more force in order to go the same distance

and speed that the rubber was traveling. This is good for seasoned players

because control is a lot better with this kind of puck. Also, with a good

hard hit, they tend to fly faster and farther because of the inertia


In hockey the shoulders are used a primary focal point in the exertion

of force. When swung down, the long stick will amplify the force made and

thus smacking a puck. When this happens, kinetic energy is transferred and

the puck goes flying in the direction opposite of which it was hit. The

faster the lever drops the more air it cuts. This causes less resistance

and thus a harder and farther hit. Also, the weight of the primary motion

setter plays a big role. When the weight is greater, a stronger force

causes the puck to be shot forward. Thus, if the initial starter is of a

heavier weight, there is more power to be exerted in the beginning. The

stick, regardless of graphite or wood, will increase in amplification of

power once the length of the stick is increased. The wood will give a more

solid shot because of the structure wood is made. Wood is dense and

provides shock absorption, thus allowing the player to create a stronger

hit. Graphite does the similar, but is less heavy and of a lightweight

variety so the effects are not as great. But, it has a more stronger solid

surface so when the puck and stick make contact, the tension between the

two is higher.

When the puck is heavier, it requires more force to propel, but in

return it carries more inertia. With more inertia, the puck can travel

faster and harder forward. The lighter pucks will only do so much because

the air resistance will stop the lightweight. Heavy pucks will keep on

going due to the force it is hurling forward.


Lapointe, G. “Simple motions can be further enhanced byweights.” Journal of

Environmental Physics 5:2 (2002): 16-25.

“Hockey.” World Book. 2003 ed.

Origin of Hockey.” WBStallion WBStallion. 08 Jan. 2004

“Hockey Puck.” frameconnews Stanford. 08 Jan. 2004


“How to buy a hockey stick.” Sports Authority Amazon. 08 Jan. 2004


Vaghuan, Garth. “”MicMac” Hockey Sticks.” MicMac Hockey Sticks MicMac Inc..

08 Jan. 2004

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